The government has eased the processing in the repatriation of sick overseas Filipino workers which cause considerable inconvenience to their families while processing their travel and health clearance documents, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
Bello said a more cohesive and synchronized procedure for the medical repatriation of overseas Filipinos is now assured with the signing of a Joint Memorandum Circular among concerned government agencies.
“The goal of JMC is to set in place an integrated system and process flow on medical repatriation among involved agencies and parties to ensure proper, timely and well-coordinated delivery of assistance and services to overseas Filipinos, whether documented or undocumented,” Bello said.
“With this joint agreement, we will now be able to harmonize our policies, processes, and procedures; define our roles and responsibilities in medical repatriation, and institute a standard reporting and monitoring system,” Bello said.
Apart from DoLE, the other agencies involved in the joint memorandum circular are the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Manila International Airport Authority, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“The joint circular strengthens our interdepartmental efforts in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare and interests of our overseas Filipinos, including migrant workers,” Bello said.
Under the JMC, the DOLE, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and other partner agencies, will be in charge in coordinating and facilitating the medical repatriation.
Among these activities include coordination with families or next-of-kin regarding the medical condition; securing of medical clearance or certificate of fitness to travel; medical reports; and logistics arrangement, including provision of transport assistance from host country to the Philippines.
“We can now better address the issue of medical repatriation, which was ignored in the last few years,” Bello added.